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Swiss shield China's PM from protests during visit བོད་སྐད།


Switzerland restricted media and public access around the Federal Palace during a visit by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Tuesday in an effort to shield him from potential protesters and awkward questions.

The square and streets leading to the Federal Palace in the capital, Bern, were being sealed off completely by police, the Federal Chancellery said.

Heightened security for major state visits is not unusual in Switzerland. But the restrictions on media and public access appeared aimed at preventing a repeat of events 10 years ago when then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin was angered by Tibetan protesters who had gathered on the government square and the roof of an adjacent building.

Chinese Prime Minister plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, where officials have authorized a small demonstration by Tibetan groups on Wednesday.

Phuntsok Gangshontsang, a spokesman for the Community of Tibetans in Switzerland, said he expected about 100 people to protest human rights abuses in Tibet and call for greater freedom in the Chinese-ruled region.

Information for this report was provided by AP.


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